The Shanghai Lockdown

Since the initial lockdown in 2020, Shanghai, China, has gone into lockdown again. This happened because the city has been battling one of the worst covid waves since the pandemic started. Cases began to rise in February 2022 and the virus is believed to have stemmed from the highly contagious Omicron variant. In March of this year, a lockdown, along with mass testing, began. Although the orders to stay home and travel restrictions were only supposed to last a week or two, the lockdown continues today and has affected many people inside and out of the city.

Despite the weeks of lockdown, case numbers are still rising in Shanghai. Because of this, restrictions are getting tighter. China’s zero-covid policy, which is the government’s way of tracing, testing, and then locking down if a case has been detected, has also played a role in the start of this lockdown. Despite this intense policy, upheld tightly by the government, it can be argued that the government was underprepared for such an extensive lockdown. Citizens of Shanghai are struggling with the effects of the intense lockdown as well. For example, food is rotting, emergency rooms have an extended wait time for severe covid cases, and people are being forced out of their houses and moved into quarantine camps. Many elderly covid patients reside in these government quarantine camp facilities and are taken from their families to get to them. With the cases still rising and Shanghai citizens dealing with hunger and fear, residents of Shanghai have been left in disarray. Because of this, it is questionable whether this lockdown will be successful or not.

Outside of people living in Shanghai, the city as a whole is dealing with economic struggles. With Shanghai being the biggest city and financial capital in China, its closure has had numerous global effects on the economy. One example is the halt the multiple major companies in Shanghai had to come to as a result of this lockdown. For example, the Shanghai Tesla factory has had to stop operations, which has posed a threat to the global supply chain. Because no one can go in or out of Shanghai, any money from tourism is also being lost. This has caused the airlines in Shanghai to cancel flights, which has caused the price of flights to drastically increase. Because Shanghai is one of the most desirable places to start a business, China will likely lose money due to this no longer being able to happen for the duration of the lockdown. With the overwhelming economic effects and the struggle of Shanghai residents being forced into lockdown, anxiety invoking questions remain unanswered. The current conditions in Shanghai leave us wondering, are we next?

— Emma Javor